Two hundred boredom “activists” gathered in London in December at James Ward’s annual banal-apalooza conference, “Boring 2010,” to listen to ennui-stricken speakers glorify all things dreary, including a demonstration of milk-tasting (in wine glasses, describing flavor and smoothness), charts breaking down the characteristics of a man’s sneezes for three years, and a PowerPoint presentation on the color distribution and materials of a man’s necktie collection from one year to the next. Another speaker’s “My Relationship With Bus Routes” also seemed well-received. Observed one attendee, to a Wall Street Journal reporter: “We’re all overstimulated. I think it’s important to stop all that for a while and see what several hours of being bored really feels like.”
WHAT’S THE LATE FEE ON A FORMER SEX WORKER?
The Toronto Public Library began its “Human Library” project in November with about 200 users registering to “check out” interesting persons from the community who would sit and converse with patrons who might not otherwise have the opportunity to mingle with people like them. The first day’s lend-outs, for a half-hour at a time, included a police officer, a comedian, a former sex worker, a model and a person who had survived cancer, homelessness and poverty. The Human Library actually harkens back to olden times, said a TPL official, where “storytelling from person to person [was] the only way to learn.”
Elected officials caught violating the very laws they have sanctimoniously championed are so numerous as to be no longer weird, but the alleged behavior of Colorado state Sen. Suzanne Williams following her December car crash seems over-the-top. Though a strong seat belt and child-seat advocate, Williams was driving near Amarillo, Texas, with her two unbelted grandchildren when her SUV drifted over the center line and hit another vehicle head-on, killing that driver and ejecting Williams’s 3-year-old grandchild, who survived with injuries. A Texas Department of Public Safety report noted that Williams was seen scooping up the child, returning him to the SUV and belting him in.
A 41-year-old woman, arrested in Callaway, Florida, in December for beating her husband with a rock, explained that she was angry that he was endangering his health by smoking despite being ill. Said she, “A woman can only take so much.”
NAMES IN THE NEWS
Suspected of stealing scraps of copper in Riverside, Ohio, in December: Jesus Christ Superstar Oloff, 33. Arrested for sex abuse against a 6-year-old boy in Oklahoma City in October: Lucifer Hawkins, 30. On trial in December for extortion in Britain’s Southwark Crown Court (threatening to reveal a sexual affair): Ms. Fuk Wu. Sought as a suspect in a convenience store killing in Largo, Florida, in December (and an example of the highly revealing “Three First Names” theory of criminal liability), Mr. Larry Joe Jerry—who actually has four first names (Larry Joe Jerry Junior).
TAKES A LICKIN’ AND KEEPS ON TICKIN’…
When Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of the Formula One racing circuit, was mugged in November and had his jewelry stolen, he sent a photograph of his battered face to the Hublot watch company and convinced its chief executive to run a brief advertising campaign, “See What People Will Do for a Hublot.”
ONE MAKES YOUR BUTT HURT, THE OTHER DETECTS CANCER
The treasurer of Idaho County, Idaho, turned down the November suggestion of local physician Andrew Jones—that more cancers might be detected early if the county sent colonoscopy suggestions to residents along with their official tax notices. The treasurer said residents might find the reminders “ironic.”